I see patients of all ages, and many wonder what’s the right time to “get started” with a beauty regimen. If you were lucky during your formative years, your mom told you to protect your skin from the sun and you listened. For the rest of us, lets look at beauty through the ages. While aging is inevitable, it seems that we all feel better if we put up a little fight and take care of our skin. As the years fly by, your skin care and beauty needs will change.
For all of us, a positively beautiful lifestyle enhances health and your innate beauty. High quality food, hydration, movement, strength training, sleep, stress management and living your life purpose have a profound impact on how we see ourselves and project to others.Supplements high in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants boost your skin health too.
Your 20’s: After surviving the hormonal turmoil of the teen years, your skin may be the best its ever been. If you still struggle with an occasional breakout, try a Vitamin A-based product like retinol or a prescription like Retin-A or Differin a few times a week. Retinol is usually available over the counter, and while it is less irritating than the others I mentioned, its strength is about 1/20th in comparison. These products also have some anti-aging properties to ward off fine lines. Make it a habit to wear sunglasses. Not only are you protecting your eyes, but also the ski n around them. Use a sunscreen with a 30 SPF on your face and neck every day. My favorite one has zinc oxide in it. Experiment to find one It’s great to be active and get outside, but spending unprotected time in the sun breaks down the building blocks of our skin, collagen and elastin, and speeds the aging process. And please say NO to tanning beds, which more than double your risk of skin cancer.
Your 30’s: For many, the first signs of aging begins. Fine lines develop and the delicate skin under our eyes thins sometimes leading to puffiness, especially in the AM. Your skin may be a bit drier, and sunspots and a few blood vessels may be visible around your nose. Skin cell turnover slows, which dulls the complexion. So build on the advice from the previous decade, and bump up your use of retinol or Retin-A to 5 nights a week, if your skin can tolerate it. You might want to try a richer moisturizer and an eye cream at night. Read labels and look for antioxidants like Vitamin C and green tea extract, which boost sun protection and fight destructive forces like pollution, UV rays and other irritants. Some might want to explore more intense treatments like Botox ™ and superficial lasers.
Your 40’s: Fine lines deepen, especially around our eyes and mouth. You likely can tell which side you sleep on just by looking at the mirror. Dryness becomes more of an issue, and as our hormones start shifting and estrogen decreases, the skin loses more resilience due to more collagen and elastin breakdown. Our skin doesn’t rebound as well. For example, weight loss might be rewarded by a smaller jean size, but our facial skin doesn’t contact as well and becomes saggy due to loss of volume. More sunspots and vessels appear. Fight back with continued use of a Retin-A type product and anti-oxidants, Consider a lightening cream as well as to minimize spots and brighten the complexion. Look for other ingredients such as coenzyme Q10, alpha lipoic acid and copper peptides and give them a try. There is some limited data suggesting increased collagen synthesis which can improve texture and resilience of your skin. Chemical peels, BotoxTM and fillers are really popular, as is laser use to work on brown spots, vessels and to give a collagen boost.
Your 50’s: Fine lines and wrinkles may deepen into folds, as our skin becomes thinner and more fragile due to the effects of the environment and loss of estrogen. It is less able to hold on to moisture, and the natural production of elastin and collagen continues to drop. More sunspots can develop, along with other skin growths that need to be checked. We lose fat in our face, as well as bone, and this volume depletion may leave us looking gaunt, tired and saggier that we’d like. In addition to the topical and injectable treatments already discussed, some turn to more intense treatments such as deeper peels, fat transfers and even surgery.
Your 60’s and beyond: It’s never to late to take care of yourself and your skin. Many of the options mentioned will work for you to look as good as you feel. Get some personal attention from your doctor so that you maximize your health and beauty.